Past politicians

I met up recently with Carey Oppenheim from IPPR, who is collaborating with other think tanks across the political divide on how to restore a good name to politics.

Then I read the following this morning, in a second-hand copy of “Organisation” by Wilfred Brown. This is a letter from a Mr Henley MP to his constituents, published in the Shrewsbury Chronicle of 12 November 1774. They had written to ask him to oppose the Excise Bill which was before Parliament.

“Gentlemen – I received yours and am surprised at your insolence in troubling me about the Excise. You know what I very well know, that I bought you, and by G… I am determined to sell you.

And I know what perhaps you think I do not know, you are now selling yourselves to somebody else. And I know what you do not know, that I am buying another borough.

May G…’s curse light upon you all. May your houses be as open and common to all excise officers as your wives and daughters were to me, when I stood for your rascally corporation.”

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